Johnstown residents concerned about sewer mandate, hoping for change

Local News

It was standing room only at a public forum in downtown Johnstown Tuesday night.

Hundreds signed a petition in hopes of changing a new sewer mandate.

“It has created a monster,” Lynn Berkevile said. “It has created havoc and continues to bring the city down more and more because people can’t afford to do this.”

Home and property owners are now required to pressure test and replace the sewer pipes running through their buildings. Its a costly project for a town that’s already struggling.

“You drive through Johnstown and you see blue tarps on people’s roofs because they can not afford to put a roof on their home,” Charlene Stanton, from Johnstown city council, told us. “Their roof leaks, but yet the city is telling them spend $5,000 to $10,000 dollars on new sewage lines.”

People are worried that they won’t be able to afford the project. However, if they don’t pay for new lines they’ll face a $600 fine every day.

“[City council] could change this with a stroke of a pen,” Tom Costa explained.

Costa is reaching out to city council members in hopes they pass bill 18.

Bill 18 seeks to change the current sewage mandate. It would require property owners to pressure test and repair lateral sewer lines only to the exterior foundation of their property. Supporters claim this would be less expensive, there wouldn’t be any basement dig and there wouldn’t be any unwanted entry into your home.

“This would save the people a great lot of money and headache,” Costa said.

A community is now filled with concern. They’re worried people will start leaving Johnstown if something is not done.

“If the project continues I believe this is the final nail in the coffin for the City of Johnstown,” Charlene mentioned.

The Johnstown city council meeting is next Wednesday, May 9. It will be held at the public works building at 6 p.m.

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